King Hamlin on the Park Theatre begins earlier than it begins with three teenage boys joshing round; it is noisy and boisterous with an undercurrent of stress.
When the play formally begins, Hamlin (Harris Cain) is having a nightmare about being late for a job interview. He needs to assist his mum (Kiza Deen), who has simply misplaced her job and may’t get advantages for 5 weeks.
They’ve a very good relationship, and Hamlin needs to complete faculty, go to college and turn into a software program engineer.
However circumstances begin to conspire in opposition to him. His mum cannot afford wifi, he does not have a laptop computer, and he is shedding out on job alternatives as a result of he cannot make money working from home.
Added to this, the world he lives in is rife with gangs, making it a harmful place to be as a younger male.
There is a component of pleasure in that Hamlin does not need to work in a grocery store however do one thing that’s much less guide – and paid higher.
Wouldn’t it have mattered if he had received any outdated job?
His pal Quinn (Inaam Barwani) is, by his personal admission and his behaviour, not lower out for learning and faculty however has a proposition for Hamlin which might assist remedy his cash points.
Andrew Evans, Harris Cain and Inaam Barwani in King Hamlin, Park Theatre, October 2022. Photograph: Steve Gregson
Apart from the truth that it is not precisely a legit method of getting cash, the issue is that it means becoming a member of Nic (Andrew Evans), whose ambitions lean in direction of gang management.
It is the second play I’ve seen lately that explores a gradual indoctrination from a very good individual to dangerous behaviour. The primary was set in Germany within the run-up to the second world battle; on this, it is about gang and knife tradition.
Hamlin initially resists, decided to avoid a tradition he detests however finally finds himself seduced by what it affords.
Cain’s Hamlin is vivid, thought-about and sort, and his worries are virtually painful to look at.
The issue is Quin and Nic, neither of whom appears notably sensible in reality, they appear virtually comically dim. It makes Hamlin’s selections appear much less convincing, notably as Nic is meant to be intimidating however is principally simply loud.
There isn’t any Quinn and Nic in a scene with out shouting and a shrill boisterousness. When actors all the time have the amp turned as much as 11, it means there’s nowhere for them to go, and it will get a bit tedious to look at.
The result’s a play which has its severe and vital material drowned out. In the long run, I needed a lot much less of Quinn and Nic and extra of Hamlin and his mum.
I am giving King Hamlin ⭐️⭐️ and a half.
King Hamlin, Park Theatre
Written by Gloria Williams
Directed by Lara Genovese
Operating time 1 hour 50 minutes plus interval
Reserving till 12 November, go to the Park Theatre web site for extra particulars and to purchase tickets.
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